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base & wall cabinets

Cabinets are commonly made of hardwood frames, plywood, or particle board panels with plastic laminate faces, hardwood veneer, or lacquer finishes). Cabinet and Casework contractors are typically craftsmen, skilled and efficient both in the fab shop and the field. Cabinets require considerable planning and execution as the work is very much a design-build effort with the installer being very hands on with the design, planning, and execution in cooperation with the project owner or homeowner’s wants and needs. Cabinets are commonly installed at the end of a project where the cabinet contractor will visit the site and take actual measurements so the cabinet can be fit to suit. The sink is typically installed by the plumbing contractor but there are times when it is installed on the base cabinets/countertops in the shop by the cabinet contractor. Sinks must be procured ahead of time so a template can be made or provided with the sink so the cabinet contractor can make a precise hole for the sink. The locations where the wall cabinets attach to the wall must be closely coordinated with the framing subcontractor, as specifically placed in wall blocking will often be required to provide adequate structural support for the cabinet attachment . Cabinets will commonly be delivered to the site in a ‘near-square’ condition. The walls that the cabinets abut should be within industry tolerances. Despite craftmanship requirements, if a wall or cabinet isn’t square enough to avoid gaps, a scribe piece or caulk joint will be required to close off and conceal the gap. If a gap at the ceiling occurs horizontally greater than approximately 1/8″, a trim molding may be required for concealment.

        For base cabinets, a 4″ base is typically (or toe kick) is typically set where flooring can then be laid up to the base with the cabinet contractor returning later to set the cabinets. This is especially helpful for wood flooring and ceramic tile. A cabinet contractor will typically prefer to set the base and wall cabinets in one trip to keep costs down.

        A base cabinet will typically consist of the following components:


 Sides – Plywood or fiberboard, may be unfinished when concealed, finished if exposed, glue’d/stapled’dado’d into face frame.

    Back – May be unfinished if concealed, typically plywood, joined to cabinet sides by typically by rabbet joint, staples and glue.

    Face Frames – Frame making up face, often hardwood or high density material for shock resistance, typically assembled with glue and dowels for maximum strength.

    Doors – Plywood or high density material, faced with plastic laminate or lacquer/stain

    Shelves – Plywood and typically full depth, which can be height adjusted by pins dowels or clips.

    Hinges – Often stainless steel or nickel, and can typically be adjusted for ease of use

    Drawers – Often made from thinner plywood and dado’d into 4 sides of the drawer

    Corner Blocks – Reinforce structure of cabinet and go at top and bottom of cabinet

    Drawer Glides – Back and face plate mounted tracks for drawer attachment, and opon/closing

The following is a list of commonly used sizes and characteristics for different cabinetry types:

Typical Wall Unit: 24-48″ Long – 12-33″ Height



   Combination Wall Unit: Typically found over sinks and stoves

Sink Base Unit: 54-84″ Long – open inside with 2 revolving doors in center and two fixed panels on either side

 Drawer Unit: 15-24″ Wide – Multiple drawers on top of one another


Single Base Unit: 12-24″ wide – 23-24″ deep

Double Base Unit: 27-48″ wide – two doors – 23-24″ deep

    Specialty Unit: Wall Oven Unit – Utility Closet or Pantry – Base Corner Unit – Finish Ends/Filler panels

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